I have always had an issue with the way career pressure is subtly forced upon children. From the moment we go to school, we are asked about what job we would like as an adult. Usually, at 5 years old, that job is something like a bus driver or police officer. Once you reach 11 and go off to high school, the pressure really starts. You have to choice classes that will help you on your way to A levels and university. Not only this, but it is also implied that you will be in this career until the day you retire, 40+ years from now. That, to me, is terrifying.
I sort of came across my career by accident. I didn’t decide to go to university until I was 19. Before then, I didn’t see the point. I’d left school after my GCSE’s and after a year at art college, I was happy working in a minimum wage job. University only became a goal for me because of two reason: I wanted friends and a better quality of life for me and my offspring in years to come. To get to uni, I needed to complete a crash course of subjects in 1 year as I didn’t have the typical A-level’s you need here in the UK. During that 1 year, my career changed from Midwife to nurse to anything I could get my hands on (I’m stupidly impulsive). I had several University interviews but no one accepted me. It wasn’t until Clearing (a date in August where universities advertise their reminding spots on ever course with more relaxed entry requirements) where I fell into my career as an ODP.
What is an ODP might you ask? Well, you know what a theatre nurse is? A nurse who assists the surgeon, handing over equipment? Well, that’s what I do with the added benefit of being able to also assist the anaesthetist while putting patients to sleep. It’s a great job in its early years of development. I love it, I do, but I wouldn’t say it was my dream job. I had no burning desire to do it, it sounded fun and they accepted me onto the course so I am very thankful to be where I am but I know I won’t be doing this until I retire. How could I when there are so many jobs out there I might want to try? I might want to work with animals or write books or even go back to my artist days and maybe sell a drawing or two. But this is my issue with the pressure they put into kids.
I will stand here and hold up my hand, I didn’t have a plan and you know what, you don’t have to. If I had known the stuff I knew now, I would have gone traveling for a year, taught english to chinese children, moved abroad and gone to university in Canada. No one tells you about this until it’s too late. Now I know I am only 25 and I have years ahead of me but in reality, I only have a few before I want to settle down and enter the next stage of my life.
If any teenagers who are getting stressed about exams happen to read this, please take one thing away from it, you don’t have to have a plan. You don’t have to finish school and then go to uni. Go get some life experience, do stuff your friends dream of. Go do stuff, get inspired and find your true passion in life, because I bet you it isn’t law or game design or whatever it is kids do these days.